Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Innovative initiative sees 30,000 adolescents access reproductive health services

At least 30,000 adolescents in Kisumu, Homa Bay and Nyamira counties can now access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services with ease.

This is courtesy of an initiative by Zipline and the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EFAF) that commenced early this year.

The initiative integrates on-site mobile clinical services which include supply family planning, HIV testing, PrEP, ARVs, and other Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) commodities through Zipline’s instant logistics solution.

We have been working with several community-based organizations to mobilize young people for health and non-health activities alike

Caleb Wanjala

Zipline’s Technical Lead for Global Health Caleb Wanjala, during the sideline of the 2023 World AIDS Day celebrations at Ndiru, Homa Bay County, noted that in a partnership with EJAF, the initiative expanded young people’s access to SRH.

“We have been working with several community-based organizations to mobilize young people for health and non-health activities alike,” said Wanjala.

He said such community events have been a way of decentralizing and easing the challenge of stigmatization of HIV patient.

The HIV burden

Western Kenya has hosted a large HIV response for decades, with massive community-level health education and demand-generation activities.

Yet young people often fail to follow up with action to manage their health when it requires visiting a health facility. Bringing integrated SRH care directly into communities can eliminate young people-reported barriers to health access.

Zipline delivery boxes. (PHOTO: Courtesy)

Homa Bay County Chief Officer for Health Dr Kevin Osuri expressed hope that such partnerships are significant for the reduction of the HIV/AIDS menace within the county.

“The Zipline and EJAF support has so far been impressive. We will, in the coming days, execute a full MoU with them given that they have, for the past few months, demonstrated a huge potential for our work within our HIV activities,” said Dr Osuri.

He added: “Cumulatively and through their support, we have seen a decline of infection rates down to 15 percent in 2022 from the 17 percent recorded in 2021.”

Zipline is also delivering refills of self-tests, contraceptives, and medication to local, convenient, private pickup sites. This decentralized model of care places more choices into the hands of young people, with the goal of significantly reducing HIV transmission among this age group.

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